Tag Archives: American Girl Lesson Plan

American Girl_Week 5 and 6 Recap_Focus on the Moon and Colonial Clothing_Temecula, CA_Homeschool Vendor


Weeks 5 and 6 combined: Focus on the Moon and Colonial Clothing

We started our meeting with an opening activity “Stitch a Message” worksheet.  I gave the girls a few minutes to complete the worksheet as we waited for everyone to arrive.




We then watched a short video from Brain Pop titled “The Moon Phases.” I then introduced our project where we would use our homework assignment (moon sketching) and transfer the images to a panorama sheet of heavy duty paper.  I showed the girls pictures of Galileo’s moon sketches and displayed images of moon sketches that had been completed by other people.  I also showed the girls an example of the actual project that was sketched by my daughter, Kiersten (my artist).  Talking Prompt: The moon does not change shape, but at different times of the month, it looks like it does.  The shapes we see are due to the angle of the moon on the sun when we view it from earth.  The different ways the moon looks are called the PHASES OF THE MOON.



As the girls began to transfer their homework images (sketches of the moon each night they had completed previously), I posed some questions from the Brain Pop movie we had just watched. Talking Prompt: If you look up at the moon every night for a month, you will notice that the surface features never change.  The same craters and plains stare down at us, night after night.  Why is this? Answer: The answer lies in the moon’s rotation.  It takes the moon about 29 days (actually 29.5 days) to rotate once on its axis.  It also takes the moon about 29 days to complete one orbit around the Earth.  The result is that the same side of the moon always faces us.  If the moon rotates just a bit faster or slower, we would be able to see more than half of the moon’s surface.


After the girls completed their project, we moved on to another moon project, this one very fun: an Oreo moon project.  This built off of our previous project.  The first project showed them the phases of the moon and how they changed each night and go through a rotation of various phases, this one actually named the phases of the moon for the girls while adding fun and creativity to their study.  I showed an already completed project, completed by Kiersten (my artist).

I gave the girls time to complete and indulge in their Oreo project, and then we moved onto a grand finale of our study “mob caps.” I combined weeks 5 and 6 into one week (first half of the meeting was week 5 and the second half was a premiere of the movie Felicity).  My plan was to make mob caps, so the girls could wear them during the movie.  I showed them how to measure a diameter and radius of a circle with the pattern I used to create their mob caps (math study).  Talking Prompt: The mob cap was a plain cap with gathered crown and frill, worn by women and girls in colonial Virginia.  The cap’s shape and size varied over time with changing hairstyles.  Usually made of fine linen or cotton; it was one of the head coverings always work publicly by females indoors as well as outside.  Colonial girls’ hats were intended to keep the hair covered for modesty’s sake.  Caps also protected the hair from dirt acquired through everyday activities—smoke from fireplaces, grease from cooking, dust from travel, milk from milking, flour from baking, etc. Caps also covered hair that was washed infrequently (it was generally though unhealthy to wash hair too often; it was easier to put on a clean cap).  Mob caps were also worn under fancy bonnets and other types of hats.


I then gave the girls each their own paper doll cutouts and three dresses each to color.  The doll portrayed a girl from Colonial times.  Finally, I also gave the girls some lapbook essentials to add to their folders on the study of Colonial times.  I gave them: a map of the 13 colonies to fill in, vocabulary, 1774 cutouts, and a “who is Felicity” cut out.




After all of our fun projects, the girls cleaned their hands and chose which great treats they would enjoy as we watched our movie Felicity.  It was very neat to see each girl wearing her Colonial Times hat as she selected her treats.  Emma Hyatt and Clara volunteered to pop the popcorn in an old-fashion popcorn maker.  We also had a fruit platter, caramel corn, cupcakes, drinks, fruit snacks, and so much more.  Thank you girls for bringing a snack to share!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for participating in this class, it was truly a memorable experience for me and more importantly I hope it was for you too!


Learning Exploration Announcing New Class_Kirsten_Starts November 2012_American Girl Class_Temecula, CA


Learning Explorations next American Girl Class:

Kirsten and Pioneering

We are traveling back to 1854 to discover pioneering with Kirsten

When: Tuesday’s, November 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th

Time: 10:30 to 12:00 p.m.

Total Cost: $62.00 (more than half off the original price)

Register now at: learningexploration@gmail.com



American Girl_Week 4 Recap_Focus on Benjamin Franklin and the Printing Press_Temecula, CA_Homeschool Teacher and Vendor


American Girl: Week 4 Recap: Focus on Benjamin Franklin and the Printing Press

We started the meeting with a word race.  The girls tried to see who could make the most words out of the letters from Felicity’s name FELICITY MERRIMAN.

We then watched a short video on Brain Pop about Benjamin Franklin.  I then handed out a worksheet on Benjamin Franklin, where the girls wrote about the different roles Benjamin Franklin filled (Inventor, Scientist, Writer, printer, diplomat).  I also posed questions such as (drawn from Brain Pop video):

Q) Can you tell me about Benjamin Franklin’s education?

A) Benjamin Franklin only went to formal school for two years, because that is all his family could afford.  Even while he was getting school, he did not think that he was getting enough of an education, so he taught himself about reading, writing, and world affairs.  Once he left school, he continued to read and write extensively.  He became an apprentice to his older brother, a printer, and he continued his education.  His brother refused to help Benjamin publish his writing, so he invented a pseudonym, or fake name, under which he wrote many popular pieces.  Franklin remained a scholar his entire life, reading, researching, and writing, and making important contributions to American society.

Q) Why did Benjamin Franklin invent bifocals?

A) Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals because he was sick of switching between two pairs of glasses for his farsightedness and nearsightedness.  Necessity is the mother of invention, after all!

We then viewed pictures of Benjamin Franklin, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and the Printing Press over the big screen (hooked up with the Mac).  We discussed how Benjamin Franklin’s pen name was Silence Dogood. In fact, he submitted pieces to his brother using the code name Silence Dogood in order to get his works published.



 My kids back in 2008 with a Benjamin Franklin Actor (fun times).

After I showed the Pennsylvania Gazette and a modern day paper to the girls (to compare), the girls then were able to create their own newspaper pieces using sets of actual printing press letters.   In 1774, the population of the colonies had grown to nearly one-third of the population of England.  Many roads now connected the individual colonies, and newspapers kept colonists informed about each other.



The girls paused long enough to get a snack (Sally Lunn bread).  Rose (from Meet Felicity) baked Sally Lunn bread for the Merriman family every morning.  Sally Lunn bread is also know as Sun-Moon bread, which I tied into a moon project later in the meeting, because of the French phrase for sun-moon, Soleil-Lune (so-lay-loon).  Each loaf has a golden top (sun) and a white bottom (moon).  In English, soleil-lune became “Sally Lunn,” which is how the bread is known today.




As the girls snacked and continued to work on their newspapers, I introduced their new vocabulary words and active listening questions and then read chapter 4 of Meet Felicity.



  1. The condition of being free or freed; liberty.

After years of being forced to work for no pay, the slaves at last gained their freedom.

  1. The state of being free to act or move as one wishes.

The children enjoy the freedom they have to run and play at recess.

  1. A specific right enjoyed by all Americans.


Trustworthiness is a moral value considered to be a virtue.  A trustworthy person is someone in whom you can place your trust and rest assured that the trust will not be betrayed.  A person can prove their trustworthiness by fulfilling as assigned responsibility-and as an extension of that, not to let down expectations.  A trustworthy person is someone that you can tell your worries and secrets to and know they won’t repeat them without your permission.  In general order for trust to be earned. Worth and integrity must be proven over time.


  1. Who was shocked when she saw Felicity’s clothing?
  2. What did Felicity try not to do when practicing her stitches?
  3. Where did Felicity hide from Mr. Nye?
  4. When did Penny do something new?
  5. Why was Ben angry at Felicity?
  6. How did Ben seem to change?

True/ False:

  1. T/F The first time Felicity sneaked off to see Penny, the horse was afraid of her.
  2. T/F Ben said the breeches that Felicity had borrowed smelled like a dirty dog.

We finished our meeting with a Felicity pencil garden craft, led by my 9th grade daughter, Kiersten.

The girl’s homework is to sketch the phases of the moon each night for one week.  The moon does not change shape, but at different times of the month, it looks like it does.  The shapes we see are due to the angle of the Moon makes on the Sun when we view it from Earth.  The different ways the moon looks are called the Phases of the Moon.  The girls will bring this back next week for a super fun project.


American Girl_Week 2_Recap


American Girl:

Week Two Recap: Focus on Horses and the 13 Colonies + Mapping


The girls started out with meeting new girls that join us this week.  We did a round of introductions, shared our favorite American Girl doll, and how we like to learn best (I use this information while lesson planning).  We then re-introduced Felicity and did an overview of what we learned last week about the Colonial Time Period.

Introduction of Felicity: Felicity Merriman is a spunky nine-year-old girl growing up in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  Her stories take place between 1774-1776, just as the Revolutionary War is starting.  Felicity comes from a Patriot family—a family that wants the colonies to be independent from England.

I then went to this website and we met all of the Meet Felicity characters.  We also watched a short video clip where we got to know Felicity better; this was especially helpful for the new girls with catching up with things we had learned in week one of our study.

Then it was time for the girls from week one to show and share.  They show and shared their trade signs.  We had to guess what their trade was from the 18th century (before they showed us the name of their shop).  I reminded the girls that back in the 18th century some people could not read and needed a visual sign in order to tell what the store specialized in.  In week one the girls were asked if they lived in the 18th century (during Felicity’s time) what trade or occupation would they have participated in.  Many of the girls shared milliner store signs (dress, hats, and jewelry accessories were drawn), one girl showed a store sign of a bakeshop, complete with cupcakes.  The new girls this week will be bringing back a store sign to share with us in week 3.

We then reviewed what an apprentice is and what they did in the 18th century.  I read from “If you Lived in Williamsburg during Colonial Days” book (page 61) for a different learning approach.  We also read page 4, 5, and 6 from “If You Lived in Williamsburg during Colonial Days” book, which provided an overview of life in the thirteen colonies and what Williamsburg would have looked like in the 18th century.  At this point we turned to the study of horses and learned how to draw Penny and Patriot (girls received a lapbook element on Felicity and her horses to be placed within their lapbook).


This was one of the lapbook elements the girls received.

On the outside, the book reads “Where in the United States does Felicity Live?”

On the inside, the book has a map of the United States.  The girls colored all of the 13 colonies one color-except Virginia (one of the 13 colonies) which they colored an alternate color to show where Felicity lived.


This is another lapbook element the girls received.  On the outside was a picture of Felicity and Penny.  On the inside it opened to Patriot and Penny, which the girls opened one more time and drew a picture of Penny and Patriot (Penny’s baby horse).  In addition, the girls each received a step-by-step on how to draw Penny.

I also showed varying types of horses (Appaloosa, Chestnut Mare, American Cream Draft Horse) on my mac (attached to my TV) that would have been in Colonial Williamsburg and how the colonists would have used the horses (transportation, farming, riding, etc.….).



Talking prompt: Felicity loves to draw horses of Penny in her copybook.  Sometimes she sketches horses when she is supposed to be doing her lessons.  Felicity can’t help it—she’s always daydreaming about horses.  Students received a handout on how to draw Penny and Patriot step-by-step.

Next, I introduced our new vocabulary words (independence and loyalty):

In-deŸ-pendŸ-ence, noun.

  1. The state or condition of being independent.
  • I celebrate my country’s independence on July fourth.
  1. Freedom from outside control.
  • The American Revolution was fought for independence from England.

Loy-al-ty, noun.

1. The condition of being faithful or loyal.

  • Loyalists (loyal to the king) versus Patriots (independent from king/ freedom).
  • The soldiers showed great loyalty to their country during the war.

The girls cut the words out and pasted them to colored paper (to be inserted in their compilation lapbooks).  I introduced questions to engage active listening while I read Meet Felicity, chapter 3.  As I read the girls either colored a page or finished up on their vocabulary words.

Questions for Pre-Reading Active Listening:

  1. What was Felicity suppose to receive lessons on?
  2. Who did Felicity want to help make a delivery?
  3. What did Felicity wish she could wear?
  4. Where did Ben and Felicity deliver oats?
  5. When did the horse get upset and become even wilder than before?
  6. Why would the horse not trust anyone?

True or False:

T/F Felicity thought Ben was lucky to be a boy.

T/F Penny was an Appaloosa.

After reading and the girls answered all the questions that were introduced pre-reading, we turned to a Brain Pop video “Thirteen Colonies” (differs from week one’s video).  This served as an introduction for our next part of the meeting.   The girls then received another lapbook element (see pic) with a map above.  Girls colored all the 13 colonies one color and Virginia (where Felicity is from) in another color.  Girls had the option to complete the map for homework by labeling all of the 13 colonies.  This lapbook element should be glued onto the lapbook folder wherever the girls see fit.  I then read page 1-3 of the Welcome to Felicity’s World” book.  Page 2-3 showed a map image of ships and where goods came from (a reminder from our learning’s from week one).

We ended our meeting with the American Girl anthem:

I can be brave, I can be true

I will do the best that I can do.

And I can dream, I can dare,

I can keep on trying if I really care.

If I reach out (Look to the past,) I can belong (Learn for the future.)

I can be a friend, Lend a helping hand so strong.

I’ll hang on to my dreams, Flying high and free.

Yes, I will be the best that I can be,

I will be the best that I can be.

During the meeting I told the girls that there is a virtual tour of Williamsburg 

I look forward to seeing everyone for our week 3 of the American Girl Class!

American Girl Meeting Recap_September 4th, 2012_Temecula, CA



To see full class description click here: American Girl Class


A small sample of the ways to extend your Learning Exploration at home (see full list below).


  • Please have each student bring back their folder, as we will build on its contents each week.
  • Please have each girl finish her sign and bring back for show and tell.
  • If you have not paid for the session in full, please contact me to make arrangements.

Hello American Girl Families,

We had a great start to our American Girl Club.  The girls started a word search with words from the “Meet Felicity” book, such as apron, candles, soap, spices, tea, etc.….  We then met the doll Felicity and learned about her time period (18th century/ 1774 to 1776).  We learned that Felicity Merriman is a spunky nine-year-old girl growing up in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  Her stories take place between 1774-1776, just as the Revolutionary War is starting.  Felicity comes from a Patriot family—a family that wants the colonies to independent from England.  We then turned to an introduction game and learned each other’s name, age/grade, their favorite American Girl, and how we like to learn (I will use this information for future lesson planning to make sure the girls get to do some of their suggestions, in example crafts, color, and baking).  We then viewed a short 5-minute video on Brain Pop Jr. titled “Thirteen Colonies.” I believe in interactive and experience-based learning (plus so many other approaches), so I had my Mac hooked up to the Big Screen for easy viewing (we also used this later in the meeting when we played Merchant Match-up…the girls were able to interact with the game live and match various trades by dragging and dropping matching names with their store sign images).  We learned how many colonies there were, what a colony is, who the loyalists (loyal to Great Britain) and patriots (want independence from Britain) were, the Boston Tea Party, and why the thirteen colonies were not called states at first.  The word “colony” describes a territory under the control of another country, usually one that is fairly far away.  Before America won its independence, the first 13 states were colonies of Great Britain.  They didn’t become independent states until the colonists won their freedom from England.  We then looked at a map of the 13 colonies and where England is in comparison (across the Atlantic Ocean).  We also briefly discussed where the goods were shipped from-tulips came from Holland, tea from China, and cotton from India.  Then it was time to learn some new vocabulary words (definitions are currently in their folders they took home), our words this week was: apprentice and colony.  We learned that Ben, from Meet Felicity, was an apprentice and how a master craftsman was teaching Ben a craft.  Ben was an apprentice in that he was in a contract (written agreement) in that he promised to work for the craftsman (Felicity’s father) for seven years.  In return the craftsman would teach Ben his trade and also made sure that Ben would learn how to read and write.  We learned that being an apprentice was hard work and one that kept Ben busy from sunup to sundown.  However, when Ben’s contract was fulfilled and his contract ended, he could go out and work on his own.  We also learned what an indentured servant is.   In addition, we learned in Felicity’s time most things people used—like shoes, clothes, dishes, wigs, books, candles, and furniture—were handcrafted, or made by hand.  I then posed some questions before reading chapter one in order to allow for active listening, examples include:

1)    Who told Felicity she was wearing a lovely hat?

2)    What kind of candy did Felicity’s father give her?

3)    From where did the ships with goods come?

4)    What does Felicity need the ginger for?

5)    When had Ben come to live with the Merriman’s?

We then read chapter one, while the girls colored a shoemaker sign, the covers of their folders, and enjoyed a colonial snack.  They enjoyed Hermit Cakes, a colonial snack that sailor’s wives would make for them when they went out to sea.  They were named hermit cakes because, like hermits in shells, they were tucked inside tins and kept well for several days. See Recipe Here: American Girl_Colonial_Hermit Cakes

After reading the girls answered the questions and then we compared life from the 18th century to life today.  I then turned to showing pages from “Welcome to Felicity’s World” book (found at your local library).  We learned typical jobs that women may have done back in the 18th century.  We also discussed a fun fact about George Washington and how he did not get his cheese sandwich one day because his servants sold all his cheese in the market that day.  The girls also were able to see a “Picturing America” portrait of George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait).  I also shared about my visit at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home) and how I got to go down into where they filmed the movie National Treasure.  Finally, I shared how George Washington’s servants cut ice from the Potomac River in the winter, so George Washington could enjoy ice year around (it was stored in a special contained underground).  We also briefly discussed Paul Revere and his Midnight Ride (to be discussed in depth at a later meeting).  We then read a small section of “If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days” again about jobs women may have done back then.  Jobs included: a milliner (dressmaker), a tavern keeper (offering beds, food, and entertainment), a teacher, a midwife, storekeepers, working for the printing press, and a silversmith.  We also briefly discussed penmanship and stitchery and ladies in training skills (drinking tea properly, etc.…).  Some topics above were just introductions to subjects we will cover in depth in later weeks.  Finally, I asked the girls, “If you were a tradesperson or shopkeeper in eighteenth-century Williamsburg what trade would you do? I told them they had rented a shop and now they needed to design a sign or symbol for their shop (remember, even though many people could read back then, there were still people who could not and they needed to understand what your shop offered through images on your sign).” Their signs should tell what their shop offers.  I gave each girl a brainstorm sheet to assist them in creating their sign.  I also have included some ideas (see below) to assist them in their signs.  HOMEWORK: These signs should be completed at home and brought back next meeting to show and share.  I showed them examples of colonial signs and the images the signs had on them.  The girls then took turns matching names with images in order to figure out what shop offered what.  Each girl was given a handout, which included ways to extend their learning exploration at home (inside their folders).  This is only suggestions and to be used at home (should you so choose).  Lastly, within the course of the meeting, I gave each student glimpses of things they can look forward to in coming meetings (in example, making mob caps).  You can ask them if they remember any other activities they can look forward to in coming meeting weeks.  I would sincerely like to thank Mrs. Emily (Phoebe’s mom) for staying and helping out- thanks so much!

*** I welcome feedback and would LOVE to know how the girl’s liked/disliked today’s meeting.  Thank you so much for attending and I look forward to next week’s meeting: Next Tuesday, September 11th from 10:30 a.m. to12:00 p.m.   

Occupations and Trades of the Eighteenth Century

Note: This is to be used for the sign the girls are designing.

These are some of the occupations and trades that were a part of daily eighteenth-century life:

•  Apothecary – acted as pharmacist, doctor, dentist, and general storekeeper

•  Barber – cut hair; also was a surgeon

•  Blacksmith-Armorer – made things from iron and repaired weapons

•  Bookbinder

•  Breechesmaker – mades breeches

•  Brickmaker

•  Cabinetmaker – made and repaired furniture

•  Carpenter-joiner – built interiors of ships and houses

•  Chandler – made candles

•  Coachmaker – made coaches and wagons

•  Cooper – made containers of wood, such as barrels

•  Cutler – made, sold, and repaired knives and scissors

•  Farrier – shoed horses and acted as a veterinarian

•  Goldsmith – made hollow ware (bowls, cups, and vases) and jewelry

•  Gunsmith

•  Hatter

•  Leather dresser

•  Mantuamaker – dressmaker

•  Milliner – made dresses and hats and sold accessories

•  Music Teacher

•  Printer – published the newspaper, sold books and other printed materials, and often served as postmaster

•  Ropemaker

•  Saddler – made saddles, harnesses, and other leather items

•  Shoemaker

•  Silversmith

•  Tavern Keeper – provided meals, drinks, entertainment, and lodging

•  Weaver

•  Wheelwright – made wheels and carts

•  Wigmaker

•  Whitesmith – made things of iron and steel, then polished them to make them look like silver

Ways to Extend the Learning Exploration at home:

Extras Handout: To extend your Learning Exploration here are some ideas:

  • Go to: http://www.history.org/kids/ and explore
  • Watch Liberty Kids (available for streaming through Netflix)
  • Watch Drive Thru History (available through Netflix for DVD mailing).
  • Research different types of horses, their accessories, and how horses were used in Colonial times.  Add this information to the memory compilation folder.
  • Watch for Hermit Cakes recipe in your email: Add this information to the memory compilation folder.
  • Research Trade Routes during Colonial Times (ties into Sailors and our snack, Hermit Cakes).
  • Read:
    • Johnny Tremain
    • Sisters in Time
    • Courage of Sarah Noble
    • The Cabin Faced West
    • Toliver’s Secret
    • A Lion to Guard Us
  • Research major events and what happened during that time period and add to a timeline at home or put in your memory compilation folder (Suggest: Homeschool in the Woods Figures).

Some links we visited during the meeting to aid in designing our shop signs:








Jen Hyatt